Arlo Parks will be one of the spotlight headliner acts

12 acts you cannot miss at The Great Escape

Written by Owen Waters and Kim Peci

The self professed “leading festival for new music in Europe*”, The Great Escape returns to Brighton for its 21st edition this May. With over 147 acts playing at the festival, it’s near impossible to see everyone. However we’ve put together a list of bands and artists you simply cannot miss this year. 


One of the largest bands playing at this year’s festival, they have more Spotify monthly listeners than both of the headliners combined. The Australian indie rock band, who are playing the festival as part of their UK and Ireland tour, are aiming to replicate their success down under and establish themselves as a household name in the northern hemisphere.


This underground Faroese trio have almost no internet presence. Their latest album covers a wide range of genres, so there’s something for everyone. The group, who go by pseudonyms to avoid revealing their true identities, produce high energy, playful party anthems and never fail to put on a show.


Hailing from Nottingham with Scottish and Caribbean routes, this group of brothers and cousins use their music to pay tribute to their council estate upbringing. The group have previously been on the bill at The Isle of Wight Festival, and many are tipping them to be The Great Escape’s 2023 breakthrough act.


Ber’s substantial total of Spotify listeners becomes even more impressive when you realise she only has three singles on the platform. This US based solo artist exploded onto the scene in 2021 when her song Meant To Be went viral on TikTok. It has since totaled over 50 million streams, and many are excited to see what the 23 year-old has in store next.


This band provides a fusion of musical cultures we never knew we needed. British-Caribbean Saxophonist Alphanse joined forces with Colombian Daniel Michel and Mestizo Collective is the result. A combination of Colombian folk and London Jazz allows this band to create a truly unique sound. Their debut album is due out on May 5th so new songs will likely form much of their Great Escape setlist.


This Australian alt/pop singer songwriter entered the world of music aged just f15 with her school band. A decade on, and she has just released her first solo, acoustic EP titled Player. It contains some heavy, but positive music that helps to create a collection of songs unlike any she has released before. 


AlienBlaze, a 20-year-old angsty singer/songwriter and lead guitarist who creates genre-fluid bangers. Their music has elements of dark alternative pop, emo and grunge, as well as rock and electronic components. Her powerful presence exudes a sense of rebellion, inspiring her younger audience to feel empowered. Feeling isolated from people around her, she was motivated to adopt the moniker ‘alien’ in her stage name. She draws inspiration from a diverse range of artists including Billie Eilish, The Cure and Bring Me The Horizon. AlienBlaze creates a unique musical vision that reflects her influences while remaining distinct. 


BIG WETT is a fresh addition to the Melbourne music scene, and she has arrived with an enigmatic aura. Her hard-hitting beats are raw, sultry, and entertaining, with explicit lyrics that delve into themes such as sex, power and money. Her live shows are inspired by the dance floors of nightclubs, strip clubs and drag shows, delivering a pulsating experience. If you’re someone who loves to have a good time, then join BIG WETT on her electrifying journey. 


Brighton-based artist James Marriot is a versatile creative who launched his music career in 2020. He has since amassed a substantial following. He draws inspiration from notable alternative acts like Sam Fender, The Strokes and Two Door Cinema Club. In 2022, he unveiled his Bitter Tongues EP, which garnered critical acclaim and added to his growing popularity. With his unique musical style and rapidly expanding fanbase, James Marriot is a rising star in the UK alternative music scene.


MILANOSPORT is a post-punk band from Milan that exudes romanticism in their music. Incorporating a variety of musical styles including punk, synthpop, shoegaze, surf rock and Irish folk, each member draws from their unique musical past. Their debut EP Ain’t big enough was released in October 2022. The band have reached international audiences including a performance at events like Linecheck Festival in November of that year. 


UCHE YARA, a 19-year-old multi-instrumentalist with Nigerian heritage, is a rare and exceptional artist. Having grown up in Austria and now residing in Berlin, she is renowned for her compelling song writing and dynamic stage presence with her band, causing a remarkable buzz around her. After finishing school, she immediately started performing, with her first show being at the prestigious Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, followed by other performances at prominent festivals. The artist even had the opportunity to open for The Rolling Stones alongside Austrian band Bilderbuch. 


Despite the unexpected circumstances of a global pandemic, 19-year-old Irish singer-songwriter Nell Mescal has managed to launch her artistic career. She spent 2020 attending virtual school from home, like the majority of teens. Recently, she signed her first management deal with Q Prime Management through Tara Richardson, who praises Mescal’s rare talent, including her exceptional voice and song writing skills, and sense of humour. Over the past year, Mescal has released multiple acclaimed songs, including her latest single Missing You.

The Great Escape is billed as a stage for emerging talent, and that certainly is the case. These are just a few names we think you should watch out for, at the year’s festival and beyond.

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